Learning Leadership by Doing—‘Route for Renewal©’ Case Study

  • Petri Virtanen
  • Marika TammeaidEmail author


‘I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think’ is a proverb from Socrates which is also a very good motto for designing training for a VUCA-world. It is also something that is rather different from the traditional approach to leadership training which continues to support the rather naive idea that there is a knowledge-based solution to every problem, preferably provided by some researcher or external expert. The key issue in facing an unknown future and complex challenges is to realise that there are no ready or simple answers for how to think, or how to take action. From the perspective of learning, listening to lectures does not necessarily open new horizons for thought nor does it generate new kinds of action. In practice, solutions and real changes arise when knowledge, skills and experience are combined in a manner that is different from how this has been done before. This requires bringing knowledge to a personal level and the interactive building of understanding. It also calls for the taking of a step away from the temptation to draw quick conclusions from contradictory opinions or facts and seeing bewilderment as a fruitful condition. Long-term training provides an ideal platform to learn when it is designed in such a way that it develops the ability to think and seek solutions together. When the training is not delivered from an expert position, but instead as an open-ended dialogue with and between the participants, it also creates a great opportunity to practise all the important meta-skills discussed in Chap.  5. In this chapter, we describe in detail how the Route for Renewal© training programme (2016–2018) was designed and conducted in Finland by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The main aim of the leadership training was to precipitate a systemic change in terms of leadership for the 2020s within the Finnish Central Government. Eight specific learning activities are described in detail, as well as the solutions-focused paradigm of change and facilitation.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ITLA FoundationHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.University of VaasaVaasaFinland

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